You Asked – Painting Fine Lines

Today’s question comes from Claude:

Claude Writes:

“It seems there are thousands of different brushes on the market. To paint fine lines such as a tiny stem or highlights on flowers and leaves, is there a special technique or brush? Seems ours always come out too coarse. Thanks”

Do you have any information that might help Claude?

Please leave you response in the comments box below.  Thanks!


  1. says

    Painting fine lines is more a combination of brush and medium consistency. Even a good quality flat brush can be loaded on a very fine edge and leave the barest of lines.
    If there is any curve involved then I like a longer rigger brush but again just the right consistency or flow-ability.
    Don’t be limited to a brushes there may be other tools that would work better for your needs.
    While I haven’t tried it, in theory one could use a syringe with the right tip and use it as more of a ink type pen.

    Niels Henriksen
    .-= Niels Henriksen´s last blog ..Painting Clouds =-.

  2. says

    The answer to you question is: money. Sound strange but unfortunately true. Good professional brushes are expensive but make a world of difference in one’s work. You can sometimes find great bargains by following the auctions on Ebay and fill your paint box with good quality brushes that won’t send you to the poor house. I only went to pro brushes a few months ago and am truly amazed at the difference in my work. Fine lines, details, all are now easy if you use the proper tools. Hope this helps and no I don’t sell brushes, this comment is truly from personal experience.

  3. says

    As there is no medium specified in the questions, will do my best to answer based on my eperience.

    For watercolor, I have used a “Ruling Pen” used in drafting. The thickness of the line can be adjusted. Have also used a Chinese brush which comes to a very fine point, try different sizes of Chinese brushes, and find the one that works for you best.

    For Acrylics & Oils the “Rigger Brush” (commonly used in sign painting) works pretty well. You need to thin the paint enough so that the brush holds the pigment. There are rigger brushes for watercolor as well.

    Another item that I want to try for watercolor is the Masquepen that is used to apply liquid masking fluid.

  4. MarciaKY says

    I am a decorative artist and have used this particular line of brushes for all my line work for many years. I can make the very thinest to a very thick line with them. They take hard work and keep their shape. Loew Cornell make excellant brushes and stand the test every time. I am a brush junkie and have been for years, I do use many brands and have definate favorites. I make my brush work for me, I don’t have the patience to keep working at something when it can be done in one or two strokes with the right brush. I teach and I make sure all my students know about brush care especially with the liners. Your only as good as your brush. Hofcraft is also an excellant source for other good painting items. Just tell Doug, Marcia Vanover sent you…LOL, no, I have no monetary connection with the company, just great service from them for many years.

  5. Sheree' says

    I like the Maureen McNaughton 0 liner. I’m an acrylic painter, and find that thinning my paint to the consistency of ink, twirling my brush in the paint and dragging it a bit to remove the excess, maintains the fine point, works well for all my line work.
    I begin my line work with a light touch of the tip and then use more pressure when I need either more paint or a wider line.
    Hope this helps!

  6. says

    I paint a lot of fine details in oil and use the Beste liners 10/0 and 1 size, by Creative Mark (they are made in China) and available from ASW and other suppliers. They are just a few dollars each and I buy them by the dozen at a time as I wear them down in a few months. I have tried many other brands of brushes, and like these the best. They clean up well and keep their shape.

    Peter Worsley

  7. Kimberly says

    Red Sable. Creative Mark has sets that are affordable and work beautifully. A friend of mine that has been painting for over 40 years told me about them,and they are wonderful.

  8. says

    what works for me to get nice fine line is to make your line first and it will most likely be too big and broad. What you do next is load your brush with the adjacent color and apply that while pushing the paint into the line and making it as fine as you wish. You got to be willing to use some paint here.

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